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Twitter turns to women's group to sort out its cyberbullying issues

WAM! Take that, trolls

By Iain Thomson, 8 Nov 2014

The recent Gamergate kerfuffle is just the latest example of how Twitter has failed to control the worst elements of its user base. Now, rather than dealing with the problem of gender-based bullying itself, Twitter has partnered with the group Women, Action, & Media group (WAM!) to take care of it.

"We’re thrilled to be working with Twitter to make their platform safer for women. The disproportionate targeting of women online results in them removing their voices from the public conversation," said Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of WAM!

"We’re so glad that Twitter recognizes that the best way to ensure equally free speech for all users on their platform is to ensure that all users are equally free to speak without being targeted by harassment, abuse and threats."

Under the pilot program, Twitter users who feel they are being harassed or abused because of their gender can let WAM! know via an online form. The form will ask the user to specify the sort of cyberbullying going on, how it is carried out, and whether the user is being harassed on multiple social media platforms.

WAM! will pass offending posts on to Twitter management for analysis and possible punishment. At the same time, the program will compile valuable data on just how gender-based harassment is conducted online and hopefully will produce insights on how to stamp it out.

Before the "men's rights" pantywaists start moaning about reverse sexism, the WAM! teams will be looking for harassment against either sex, with no let or favor. That said, a recent Pew Research study found that women are much more likely to be subject to online sexual harassment and stalking than and are no less likely to receive credible threats of violence.

While WAM! is a reputable organization, however, it would have been a lot more convincing if Twitter had invested some of that IPO money in sorting itself out, rather than getting an outside group to do the job for it. ®

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